If you were old enough to watch the first moon landing, how did it affect the trajectory of your life?
I watched events of the space program with awe and wonder, the first installments from my father's lap. I might talk about all the technology that has come out of space development and been integral to my life, but I think the biggest effect was instilling a deep wonder about the universe and an optimism that Humankind can earn a place in it, no matter how insignificant it makes us feel. Part of that, I suppose, gives rise to a spiritual sense in me. If I have a religious bone in my body, it's an anti-bone, yet I feel there's something about my being here, about US being here that owes to more that chance interactions between particles of energy. If I/we can imagine the complexities of the universe from mechanics of the quantum realm to the vastness of observable space, then there's also room to imagine, ...no, to feel that we're part of something greater than ourselves, whether we can conceive of what that greatness is or not.
Q: If you were old enough to watch the first moon landing, how did it affect the trajectory of your life?
I was old enough to watch, but I didn't, I was busy chasing skirts, or rather a skirt, my current wife. Have seen the tapes many, many times since. Have no doubt as to whether it actually happened.
While I did not personally see any of the launches or recovery's of the Apollo program, I did watch many of them on TV. I even saw the initial launch of the Mercury Atlas 6 which John Glenn rode into orbit live on TV on February 20, 1962. It was a Tuesday, and the high school had all the children (including me) in the auditorium and projected the image on a screen so everyone could witness this achievement. I have been in the Mohave desert beside the Edwards Air Force Base when one of the Space Shuttles landed. We (me and the rest of the crowd) watched as the craft came into view from the west, turned and landed at the base. It was literally only seconds, the shuttle was basically just a falling rock with stubby wings.
If I can locate the negatives, I will try to eventually attach an image from that day.
How did any of this affect me? Well, I know that it happened, I have been a witness of the space program for the last 50 or so years. It is exciting, and I realize that a lot of what many today take for granted is merely an offshoot of the technology developed to advance the space program.
The fact that you're reading this on a computer screen can at least partly have been a effect of the space program.